Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali I. Al-Naimi presented his views on developments in the global energy market at the Center for Strategic and International Studies today.
Saudi Arabia has almost one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves, and it is the largest producer and exporter of total petroleum liquids in the world, according to the Energy Information Agency. It was the world’s largest producer and exporter of total petroleum liquids in 2012, the world’s largest holder of crude reserves, and the world’s second largest crude oil producer behind Russia. The EIA provides a useful analysis of Saudi Arabia’s energy profile in their Country Analysis Brief, including:
Saudi Arabia’s oil and natural gas operations are dominated by Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company in terms of proven oil reserves and production. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Minerals have oversight of the oil and natural gas sector and Saudi Aramco. The Supreme Council, which is composed of members of the royal family, industry leaders and government ministers, is responsible for petroleum and natural gas policy-making, including contract review, as well as Saudi Aramco’s strategic planning. The Ministry is responsible for national planning in the area of energy and minerals, including petrochemicals.
Minister Naimi started out as an office boy in Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, and rose to become its president. The American educated Naimi has been the Kingdom’s oil minister for 18 years. In his introductory remarks he noted:
I am here today to talk about the one constant in all our lives: energy. Fossil fuels are our most enduring energy source. They are the driving force of economic development in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and for much of the developed and developing world.
The global oil business creates jobs, supports manufacturing, powers transportation, fuels innovation and boosts economic progress. It has helped the U.S. become the leading global power and has enabled Saudi Arabia to become one of the G-20 nations. It is helping nations such as China offer their citizens unprecedented economic opportunities and it is helping boost standards of living in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Now fossil fuels are the energy source that has truly endured. They have the capacity to sustain us well into the future and I am pleased to see that. Here in the U.S. there is a renewed faith in their longevity. Wind and other relatively expensive alternatives will also be part of the mix. But in terms of cost, reliability and effectiveness, fossil fuels stand alone.
The final step of course will be devising a way of diminishing the negative side effects burning fossil fuels have on the environment. And I know how sensitive the subject of the environment is here. I remain confident that if enough resources and brain power are invested even this can be overcome.
Ladies and gentlemen, today I will discuss two broad themes which relate to the enduring legacy of oil. First, I will look at the implications of the current U.S. energy renaissance. I will then share with you my thoughts on energy and economic developments in Saudi Arabia.
Today we provide for your consideration a video recording of Minister Al-Naimi’s remarks. A complete transcript will be posted separately.
His Excellency Minister Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi has been Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia since August 1995. Prior to being appointed Minister, he had served as chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco for seven years. Minister Naimi has spent his career in energy exploration and production, beginning in 1947 as a foreman with Saudi Aramco, and progressing through the ranks as an assistant superintendent, superintendent and manager, before moving into the Exploration Department in 1953. He was appointed vice president of Aramco in 1975, senior vice president in 1978 and was elected as an Aramco director in 1980. He became executive vice president of Operations for Aramco in 1982, and then company president in 1984. He was named as the chief executive officer for Aramco in 1988.
Minister Al-Naimi studied at the International College and the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, from 1956 until 1963. He earned his B.Sc. in Geology from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1962 and a master’s degree in Geology from Stanford University in 1963.
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